“Life is long. If you're still drawing breath, you still have time to be the kind of writer you want to be.”
John Vorhaus

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

springing forward and marching ahead
Tue 2016-03-01 23:44:24 (single post)
  • 995 words (if poetry, lines) long

Things are getting back on track around here, and not a moment too soon. Daily writing things got done throughout the weekend and right up through today. I'm getting ready to send all the recently rejected short stories right back out into the fray, and I'm wrapping up the end-of-month fictionette tasks. On that note, I've designated "It's That Little Something Extra" as the Fictionette Freebie for the month of February 2016; follow that link to the full text in HTML, and follow links you will find there for the PDF and MP3 options. (I make one fictionette free for everyone at the end of every month, but it's subscribers only who get to download all four per month the moment each comes out. And now you know.)

On that note, I've spent much of today's afternoon shift typing up two of the February fictionettes on my typewriter, getting them ready to mail to my two Patrons at the fictionettes-in-your-mailbox level, and I have to say that there's nothing like manually typing up a piece of fiction to become painfully aware of all the "favorite words" (continue, achieve... what else? I forget now) and the places where I probably could have phrased things more compactly. And then there's the times where I misanticipate the next phrase and end up just going with it because I don't want to spend time and corrective tape fixing it. All of which just goes to show that these typewritten Fictionette Artifacts are entirely limited edition specimens with unique typographical features all their own. *ahem*

In other news, I finally read The Interior Life by Katherine Blake (Dorothy Heydt). It was my first Perk purchase--which is to say, I redeemed Perk (née Viggle) points for a gift card, and I used the gift card to buy the book. Winning! But that's not the point. The point is that this is a dang good book. It's a book the likes of which you don't see every day. Jo Walton wrote a lovely review of it at Tor.com about six years ago, about the way it's really two stories that move along side-by-side, and one of those stories is entirely in the domestic "housewife" domain--Painting the walls! Doing laundry! Trying out recipes in advance of hosting parties!--and that is honored just as much as the other story's domain of adventure, sorcery, warfare, and derring-do.

When the fantasy quest story cuts into the narrative, it's signaled by a change of font so subtle that the author herself had trouble distinguishing it in the published copy. I noticed it--at least, I got the impression that the type had gotten more compact and slightly "pointy" in the way of serifed calligraphy, but I kept questioning whether I'd really seen it. (A comparison of the letter "e" dispelled any doubts.) Thing is, I love that. The subtlety feels right, echoing the main character's having slid from household chores into a fantasy life without realizing it for maybe a page and a half before she goes "Woah, where did that come from?"

Anyway, I love this book with all my heart. Also, reading it made me suddenly quite eager to clean the frickin' house already. Which is convenient. John started his new job this week, such that instead of working from home as he has for the past couple years, he'll now be working from an office nearby in Boulder. Which means the division of household chores will shift a bit towards me, since he won't be able to do a bit here and a bit there between day job tasks anymore. But I was home and I did do a bit here and a bit there between my work-a-day tasks, and now laundry is done and the compost has been taken out and so have the recyclables and I also did large portion of the weekend dishes.

I am bad-ass, y'all.

Also I will be rereading The Interior Life all over again shortly because I need to fortify myself against spring cleaning.

(Spring! Can we call it spring yet? Is it safe to call it spring? Pleeeeeeease? It's March!)

Click through for excerpt and also all cover art attributions.
Click through for yadda yadda yadda.
all right what's next
Sun 2016-02-28 00:56:40 (single post)
  • 1,095 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 1,059 words (if poetry, lines) long

And now we are all caught up. Again. For as long as that lasts. In any case, "Weird Quantum Science" is the Friday Fictionette for, er, yesterday, and "The Touch of Iron" is the much belated fictionette for the Friday before that. Which makes four for February. Ta-da!

Why I keep getting behind on this stuff is very simple. In theory, I'm to spend a little time every day working on the next one that's due. Simple. Perfectly achievable. Leaves plenty of room for other writing tasks, like the production of publishable short stories and all that. But in practice, something happens most days per week to keep me getting to my daily fictionette-prep session. And then Friday comes and the thing isn't even drafted, much less exported to PDF and paired with some sort of cover art and also recorded to mp3. And Friday has whatever it's got waiting in the wings or hovering over my evening or sabotaging my afternoon, and there's no way I'm putting in all three or four hours it's going to take.

It's just like NaNoWriMo, right? You do your 1,667 every day, or your 3,333 every other day, whatever--or you do a 10K marathon at the last minute. Or worse. And I hate marathons. I'm much better at daily sprints.

So there's my confession for the week: I've kind of been sucking at this time management thing. But a new week starts now! A new month starts next week! New leaves: I am turning them over at a rapid pace! Watch them fly!

Do I perchance hear someone snickering in the peanut gallery? Do I? Surely not! Oh, wait... it's me. Because I do this every week. Every evening. "I give up. I'm done. I'm going to sleep. But tomorrow will be better!"

Well, and tomorrow will be better. Just... in small increments. But small increments do add up.

caw!
YPP Weekend Blockades, Feb 27: max pay 4 max fun til flagsit
Sat 2016-02-27 13:54:13 (single post)
  • 1,095 words (if poetry, lines) long

I've been lapse in my actually writing updates, and I'm gonna get lapser; this is not an actually writing update. This is your weekend Puzzle Pirates blockades roundup. Why? Because it's Saturday, and time and tide (and the blockade schedule) wait for no pirate.

Absolutely nothing seems to be scheduled for Cerulean. That's unusual. As though to make up for it, the Emerald and Meridian Oceans are hoppin'. They got multi-drops, Brigand King scuffles, and, in the case of Emerald, a whole bunch of max pay offers for the noon blockades.

Chapter Three would like you to know a little bit more about their attack on Raven's Roost (Meridian)...

Our JC/LA is out of town and will be sending in a few ships just for fun to see what Corteezism is made of! See you there. Pay starting at 69 poe per seg.

And Bite the Pillow have this to say about their Admiral Island operations (Emerald)

Come join us and help save Shigby's cat. Pay as crazy as it can be and good luck to both sides.

I'm not sure about the cat (more details might be available in their intent video, linked from the forum post), but pay is very much over the top. Well, the game won't let you go over the top. It's right at the top, 9,999 Pieces of Eight per segment (PoE/seg).

An actually writing update will probably be coming later on today. The preview summary is this: The week 3 Friday Fictionette for February did indeed go out on--I think it was Tuesday of this past week; the week 4 Friday Fictionette is a touch late but will probably be out later today. I hope so, anyway. There's no good reason it shouldn't be. But then again, when have I needed a good reason to slack off? *le sigh* Well, here's to optimism. Please stand by....

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, February 27 ***

10:34 a.m. - Hubbles Auge, Opal Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Alianca da Aguia
Attacker: Chthonische Horden (1)

12:14 p.m. - Admiral Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: This Means War
Attacker: Bite the Pillow
Undeclared: Keep the Peace

12:14 p.m. - Scrimshaw Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Bite the Pillow
Attacker: This Means War

12:35 p.m. - Gallows Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Rebound
Attacker: The Crazy Department

12:36 p.m. - Paihia Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Rebound
Attacker: The Crazy Department

12:37 p.m. - Iocane Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Rebound
Attacker: The Crazy Department

1:13 p.m. - Isla Spaniel, Jade Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: La Llama que todo lo consume (1)
Attacker: CORSARIOS DE POSEIDÓN

1:39 p.m. - Lilac Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Knockout
Attacker: Necessary Roughness

1:40 p.m. - Duat Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Knockout
Attacker: Necessary Roughness

2:00 p.m. - Zuyua Mist, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Coming Soon
Attacker: The All-Consuming Flame (3)

4:00 p.m. - Raven's Roost, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Chapter Three
Attacker: Corteezism

6:00 p.m. - The Lowland Hundred, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Illuminatti
Attacker: Jinx (3)

*** Sunday, February 28 ***

11:37 a.m. - Aimuari Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (6)
Attacker: Keep the Peace

12:00 p.m. - Napi Peak, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Imperial Coalition
Attacker: Chthonic Horde (13)

YPP Weekend Blockades, Feb 20: Otherworld holding a CI wake
Sat 2016-02-20 14:04:23 (single post)

A couple of weeks ago we got the news that Darksidemoon (Cerulean Ocean, flag Otherworld) had passed away and left us bereft. This weekend sees her flaggies taking a tour of the Cursed Isles in a war brig in her honor. "Moonie absolutely loved to CI and would find it especially amusing to see us attempt one on a war brig." This will be at 7 PM Pirate Time on Saturday, February 20. You are requested to wear whatever you've got in black. I mean, obviously, it's what you wear to funerals. But in this case it's more because that was all Moonie would wear. She just liked the color black. Everyone used to save their black rags to give to her. So that's what we're doing to honor her memory. Obviously black is one of the more expensive colors, what with the cost of kraken's blood and all that, but wear 'em if you got 'em and Otherworld will appreciate the thought.

Meanwhile, there are about a bazillion blockades happening, especially on the Meridian and Emerald oceans, and almost every single one of them is happening Sunday. Your chronicler is grumbling a bit about that, since her roller derby practice schedule prohibits her participation. But she hopes you have a great time!

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, February 20 ***

3:29 p.m. - Ansel Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Chthonic Horde (3)
Attacker: Licence to Kill

*** Sunday, February 21 ***

10:00 a.m. - Tigerleaf Mountain, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Imperial Coalition
Attacker: Chthonic Horde (11)

10:35 a.m. - Nightshade Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Imperial Coalition
Attacker: Knockout

10:45 a.m. - Lilac Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Imperial Coalition
Attacker: Knockout

10:51 a.m. - Duat Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Imperial Coalition
Attacker: Knockout

11:00 a.m. - Admiral Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (10)
Attacker: Bite the Pillow

11:02 a.m. - Arakoua Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Bite the Pillow
Attacker: This Means War

11:02 a.m. - Alkaid Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Bite the Pillow
Attacker: This Means War

11:02 a.m. - Scrimshaw Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Bite the Pillow
Attacker: This Means War

11:02 a.m. - Wissahickon Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Bite the Pillow
Attacker: This Means War

11:55 a.m. - Carmine Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Cream Pie
Attacker: Imperial Coalition

11:56 a.m. - Harmattan Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Cream Pie
Attacker: Imperial Coalition

11:57 a.m. - Swampfen Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Cream Pie
Attacker: Imperial Coalition

12:00 p.m. - Stormy Fell, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Imperial Coalition
Attacker: Chthonic Horde (8)

12:00 p.m. - Aimuari Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Knockout
Attacker: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (10)

12:00 p.m. - Hadrian Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Barely Dressed
Attacker: Jinx (10)

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, February 20 ***

12:00 p.m. - Namath Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Babylon
Attacker: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (5)

driving through the fog of an unscheduled day
Fri 2016-02-19 23:15:33 (single post)
  • 585 words (if poetry, lines) long

You know what's the worst? Totally unscheduled days. No, really--you get up right on time, you do your first writing task, then you think, "I have all day to do the rest of my writing," and then you go bike all over town, take yourself out for lunch, run errands, take a long nap because you just biked all over town in the gloriously warm sun--and then suddenly it's late in the evening and there is not enough time in the world to get everything done.

Well, OK, maybe you don't. Maybe you're smart. I seem to not be very smart when it comes to managing totally unscheduled days. Hence, Saturday is the Friday, etc. etc., many apologies, check back tomorrow.

Meanwhile! New fiction. The new short story is proceeding slowly in a sort of NaNoWriMo-esque way. Not as regards word-count, though. As regards discovery. I only really know what happens in one scene, which makes the whole endeavor sort of scary--but, so what? Write that one scene. It is amazing what little details pop up when writing that one scene, and what guiding stars those details can be. For instance, when the main character noticed that the weird tree had oak bark but "five-fingered leaves that reminded me of my father's maple farm"--OK, that's a clumsy sentence that could use some revision, but shut up, that's not the point. The point is, now I know her Dad runs, or used to run, a maple syrup operation. Which in turn gives me a clue about where she might have grown up, what kind of activities she might have enjoyed as a child, and also the nature of her relationship with trees. The latter is more significant than you might think; the first scene depicts a tree transforming into a man right in front of her eyes.

We're back to E. L. Doctorow analogy of writing being "like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." Some versions of the quote add the extra hazard of fog. Imagine a blizzard, too, if you like. The point of the analogy remains the same: The little chunk of road (story) that you see now enables you to drive into (write) the next chunk of road (story).

Anyway. Fictionette tomorrow. For serious. pMost of tomorrow afternoon is entirely unscheduled, after all...

Click through for excerpt and also all cover art attributions.
but half these puzzle pieces are blatant forgeries
Wed 2016-02-17 00:33:09 (single post)
  • 917 words (if poetry, lines) long

Please excuse the radio silence. It was bout weekend. (No, we didn't win, but we gave 'em a darn good fight. We also picked up some good experience to help us prepare for our next bout in 6 weeks.)

Anyway, despite not blogging about it on Friday night, I did get last week's Friday Fictionette out on time. Barely. It's "Day-to-Day Invasions," and while it looks a bit like "The Magpie's Big Heist" only with a different type of bird, it's not, OK?

Meanwhile, there's the new short story to write. The freewriting session I chose as its source material is worryingly slight. I mean, there's a tree that turns into a man, and a woman who's turned into a bit of a hermit, and they absolutely positively do not fall in love at all. I've got that much. That's... not a lot to got, honestly. It's enough to make my resolve to Write A New Thing waver like the air over a hot road. I kind of want to run screaming back to my revision queue where I know all the stories back to front even if I'm not sure how to make them right.

When did "writing a new thing" become the scary part of this gig?

Anyway, I spent some time today babbling to myself about the possible plot points, thematic aspirations, potential pitfalls, and obvious literary allusions. There's actually a good deal of material available in that initial freewriting session, but it's like a collection of random jigsaw puzzle pieces which number somewhat less than the 2500 that the box promised and include too few edge pieces to be of use. Most of what I've got are middle pieces depicting things like blue sky and undifferentiated masses of tree leaves.

If this was actually a jigsaw puzzle, I'd probably throw it away. But the thing about writing, which is not a thing about jigsaw puzzles, is, you get to make up the missing pieces. Just invent them, out of your own head. No photo-printed cardboard nor scroll saws required!

So that's the rest of my week taken up. I hope yours is off to at least an equally good start.

a day off to consider the next day
Tue 2016-02-09 23:24:04 (single post)

So I'm not at derby tonight. It seemed unwise to skate six days out of the seven in a week culminating in a bout. "I'm saving myself for my Bombshells this week," I said, "'cause that's who I'm going to be on the track with this Saturday." Then, having decided to take the night off from All Stars practice, I promptly used that as an excuse to take the afternoon off from writing. Which means another late night trying to get all my hours in. I'm so smart, y'all.

Late or not, I am writing. Did all my daily gottas. Now I'm contemplating my next fiction project. This is not as easy as it sounds. When I'm in the middle of a project, it is my whole life. I am eating, breathing, sleeping it, and when I'm not, I'm feeling guilty about it. I never seem to think, "When I'm done this, I'll do that." No, instead I think, "THIS IS MY LIFE NOW." Then it's over, the story's finished and submitted, and I don't really know what to do with myself anymore.

I think I want to write something new, rather than digging something out of the revision queue and working on it. I mean, I have plenty of stories languishing in the revision queue, but I sort of need to remind myself I can write new stories.

Good thing I have this daily freewriting habit. Plenty of potential there. Every day, theoretically, I open up my "Daily Writing Idea" Scrivener project and create a new file, pull up a writing prompt or three, and fire away at that blank page for 25 minutes. Sometimes it's just 25 minutes of playing scales on the keyboard, but sometimes it turns out to be more. If I feel like I might want to come back and explore the story idea further, I slap a "to-do" status marker on the file to make it easier to dig up later. Later, as in, when I'm looking for an idea for a brand new story to write. Like now.

So the plan is, run a search on the "to-do" status marker, browse the results, see what nibbles. Start work on whatever that is tomorrow.

It's a good plan. Let's see if I can manage to stick to it.

YPP Weekend Blockades, Feb 6-7: Otherworld in Mourning
Sat 2016-02-06 13:17:16 (single post)

Before getting to the blockade round-up, I'm afraid I have to share some sad news. While I was scanning the Puzzle Pirates forums, I came across Otherworld's announcement in Cerulean Parley that our fellow flag member, Darksidemoon, has passed away. She will be greatly missed. I know I'll miss her. Seems like we were just chatting on /fo not long ago.

On the Meridian Ocean, Spirit of Adventure is attacking Acanthaster Spits at 3:00 PM; their initial jobbing offer will be 3,000 Pieces of Eight per Segment (PoE/seg). Chapter Three is making a "semi-friendly" visit to Garden Cradle. (How friendly can it be when you're bringing a housewarming gift of BUNCHES OF CANNONBALLS?) Jobbing to start at 3K PoE/seg, intent being to lower dock prices and keep the island stocked.

Barely Dressed won their blockade on Hadrian Island last weekend; they plan to destroy the Black Market thereon and replace it with a Trading Post. Get your black boxes while you can!

On Emerald, in addition to a whole bunch of blockade action this weekend (much of it late drops for Sunday blockades between Bite the Pillow and This Means War), there's the scuttling of Ix Chel by Bite the Pillow. Their hope was for "a smaller, less experienced flag" to win the island, but the BK decided to make things difficult by turning it up to eleven. They're petitioning the Oceanmasters for a reduction in Finius's fleet strength. We'll see what happens next weekoend.

Also, it's a new month, so we have a new Seal o' Piracy to strive for. For February, your task is...

Completing 2 different expeditions (Imperial Outpost, Viking Defense, Buried Treasure Atoll, or Lost Shipwreck)

Much less labor intensive than last month--in theory. Don't save it 'til last minute, though.

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, February 6 ***

12:00 p.m. - Celesta Isle, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Barely Dressed
Attacker: The All-Consuming Flame (6)

3:00 p.m. - Garden Cradle, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Blood Sweat and Beers
Attacker: Chapter Three

3:00 p.m. - Acanthaster Spits, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Blood Sweat and Beers
Attacker: Spirit of Adventure

8:52 p.m. - Tumult Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Black Dawn Brigade
Attacker: Wait For It

*** Sunday, February 7 ***

8:20 a.m. - The Lowland Hundred, Emerald Ocean
Event: 1 round, nonsinking
Hosted by: Illuminatti

10:32 a.m. - Nightshade Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Spirit of Adventure
Attacker: Blood Sweat and Beers

12:00 p.m. - Aimuari Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: The Crazy Department
Attacker: This Means War

12:00 p.m. - Arakoua Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Bite the Pillow
Attacker: This Means War

12:00 p.m. - Scrimshaw Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: This Means War
Attacker: Bite the Pillow

12:00 p.m. - Wissahickon Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Bite the Pillow
Attacker: This Means War

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, February 6 ***

4:00 p.m. - Winter Solstice, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Elements of Fear
Attacker: The All-Consuming Flame (6)

you've heard this song before
Fri 2016-02-05 22:43:49 (single post)

Saturday is once again the new Friday, because I cannot seem to keep my eyes open. All I have to do is create the cover art and upload the various permutations of the Friday Fictionette, but even that is so far beyond my current energy level, I can't even.

Which is a real disappointment given that February was going to be the month of All Caught Up and On Time!

I also haven't put the Fictionette Artifacts in the mail, mainly for lack of time to get to the post office. Both of these lacks will be rectified tomorrow.

On the bright side, "can't keep my eyes open" probably translates to a very good night of sound sleep starting very shortly. And given that the status was precipitated by several nights of not very good sleep at all and the last stand of a persistent head cold and going to all my roller derby activities since Wednesday night despite the sick and the sleep deprivation (practice on Wednesday, a late-night scrimmage Thursday up in Fort Collins against our good friends FoCo Girls Gone Derby--thanks for having us! Y'all rock!--and tonight's somewhat boozy and crowded fundraiser at sponsoring taphouse 300 Suns) well, this is kind of a "reaping what I sow" situation.

I keep hoping, every time I approach a weekend, that this time I'll hit the reset button, and everything will be awesome after that. I'm beginning to think that the very idea of a reset button is nothing more than a mirage.

Well. Blah. Tomorrow, the usual Puzzle Pirates Weekend Blockade round up at 1:00 PM or so, then, later that afternoon, I devoutly hope, all things Friday Fictionette for February Week 1.

But for now, in possibly less than a half hour, blessed unconsciousness.

as sick goes this was not so bad and i am almost all better now
Tue 2016-02-02 21:43:14 (single post)
  • 1,046 words (if poetry, lines) long

This weekend started out awesome. I celebrated being all caught up by taking myself out Saturday to the Bohemian Biergarten for beef stroganoff, beer, and several hours of uninterrupted and guilt-free Puzzle Pirates fun. It was excellent. After all the scrambling to get on top of things throughout the week, it was entirely what the doctor ordered.

But then after I got home that evening I started developing this cough, and a post-nasal-drip-type sore throat, and next morning the cough was worse and accompanied by that "cold inhale" feeling at the back of my throat that I associate with running a low-grade fever, and I had to admit I'd come down sick. I'd been looking forward to practice, but as it turned out, spending most of Sunday and Monday in bed were also what the doctor ordered.

However! I am feeling much better now. I put in a full work day today, consisting of the daily "gottas" and what remained of the end-of-month Friday Fictionette stuff. By the way, the Fictionette Freebie for January 2016 is "The Wine Cellar That Wished" (PDF | MP3). I personally think it's kind of funny, but I'll admit its humor is on the grim side. That's what makes it a good free sample, though. Anyone who decides to subscribe based on that will know what they're sometimes going to be in for. (See also "The Metamorphosis of Anita Chaplain", which I also maintain is funny. Yes, there is probably something wrong with me.) So, yeah, a full work day, up and at it before noon, and an actual change of shirt which is more than I managed all weekend I am sorry to tell you. And now I'm having that peculiar run of sneezes that's my body's way of getting the last of everything yucky out of its system.

A derby friend stopped by with chicken and dumplings, and herbal tea, and an orange. She was not the only derby friend to offer sustenance and comfort upon hearing I was sick. I kind of wanted to yell "It's just a cold, jeez y'all, I'll be fine," but that's because we are typically not trained to accept kindness well. Roller derby leagues are made of kindness. There's also a formal meal train going on to help out a teammate who just got out of surgery, and less formal gestures of love and support go on all the time. There are a lot of things we don't seem to get trained in, from accepting kindness to accepting our bodies, from viewing our geeky never-done-sports selves as athletes to viewing other women as potential friends. Roller derby counteracts these toxic omissions. At least, with the right league--but I've never yet encountered a league that was wrong for this. I'm sure there are some out there somewhere, because leagues are made of people and people sometimes fail. But in my limited experience, roller derby is remedial training in self-esteem for, and interpersonal support among, women.

[And now, a brief pause to make two-handed "heart" gestures and to mutter about how dusty it suddenly got in here.]

Meanwhile! Writing things I didn't get to today but certainly will tomorrow, assuming I feel this well or better: Figuring out where to resubmitting the handful of stories that came back from their latest outings with encouraging rejection letters. Figuring out which piece of potentially salable fiction will be my next afternoon shift project. Figuring out how to figure things out. ARGH DECISIONS

Oh look! Herbal tea with orange peel. It's going to be all right.

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